Cleaning a fish tank filter is an important part of keeping a fish tank. In this guide on how often do you need to clean a fish tank filter I will show you what is the best cleaning schedule and how to know when you fish tank filter needs to cleaned. The most important thing is making sure you have filter that is sized right for your tank and fish load
How often do you need to clean your fish tank filter?
You should clean your fish tank filter regularly every 3-4 weeks or when the bad toxins on your water like ammonia or nitrates spike. This usually happens when there is a lot of uneaten food in your tank or a fish dies and you do not notice it right away. This can lead to a large spike of bad bacteria that will cloud your water and healthy parameters of your water will go down.
How do I know when I need to clean my fish tank filter?
The most obvious sign a fish tank filter needs to be cleaned is when your water becomes cloudy and the fish are not as active as they normally are. You will see fish hanging around the top of the tank near a water source, and this usually mean that there is not enough oxygen in the water.
You should immediately do a water test to make sure you water parameters are healthy and if they are not it is time to clean your filter and do a water change.
Tips to cleaning your fish tank filter
The number one mistake that people make when cleaning a fish tank filter is cleaning it too thoroughly. Surprisingly all you really want to do is clean the major pieces of uneaten food from your pre-filter like the sponge or floss. There is a lot of good bacteria that is helping to keep your water clean in your the filter media like your bio balls or canister rocks.
The only media that needs to be replaced with brand new media is activated carbon and new pre filter media, like your foam or floss. Everything else should just be rinsed off and left alone for the beneficial bacteria to continue to help keep your water clean.
Should you clean your aquarium filter?
Yes, you should clean your aquarium filter on a regular basis. Cleaning you filter removes the large pieces of uneaten food in you pre filter media and gives your good bacteria a chance to catch up.
Is it safe to clean your filter
Yes, it is safe to clean your filter. As long as you are not doing a deep clean and just rinsing off your filter media, there is no risk to your tank. The only times there is a risk to your tank is when you do a deep clean and remove all the good bacteria from your water. This can lead to spikes in ammonia and nitrates, which can harm your fish.